Sunday, September 25, 2011

Critter Care and a Garden Check

That's how our day typically begins. We head out first thing in the morning to take care of animals and see what we might need to harvest from the garden (or under the trees) that day. This day found us picking up windfall apples to share with the cows. They love apples and fresh cornstalks that we pull up from the garden each day. I find myself bracing when Grady comes running at me for the cornstalks. And he's only partly grown. I'm sure it will be quite a sight when he's a full grown steer.
We had so many apples in the wheel barrow that Kent was able to make a few piles of them where he anticipated moving them in the next several days.
And of course there's the Brain Trust. Here are the meat chickens in their tractor. They toddle around eating grass and bugs in addition to their feed rations. I've mentioned before that I don't find the Cornish X birds very interesting. So much of their chicken-ness has been bred out of them. But these birds do simulate many typical bird behaviors. I think raising them on pasture is the best possible scenario for them.
And do they ever leave a path of destruction. you can see the "scorched earth" behind the tractor as it makes its way along the grass. But within a few weeks, the grasses grow back thicker and more lush than before. Yay for chicken poo!
The Think Tank is actually a hopping place to visit. The turkeys are smart and inquisitive birds. I find I'm quite fond of them as a species. And I've named each and every one of them... Tom.
They carry on like chickens, though, when you pick them up. You'd think the sky was falling.
I like to do my best turkey call and watch them get their dander up. They started doing the wing-dragging, chest puffing, tail spreading show when they were just getting feathered out. They make me smile every time.
How do your eggs come? Ours come in a box...
Much of the garden is waning. In fact, so much of it was too depressing to photograph. Drying squash vines. Shriveled peas. But the vines dying off has reveals the squash I couldn't previously see. I counted 10 pie pumpkins yesterday and a dozen or so butternut squash. I'd guess 12-15 spaghetti squash are out there too. I'm looking forward to storing and using them this winter. The tomato plants are doing their best to ripen the tomatoes on them but they, too, are looking like dying back a bit. We picked 6 pecks yesterday and there are many more still on the plants. We've about decided that if it looks like we're due for a frost, we'll pull up the plants and hang them upside down in the cellar. That should provide us with some good tomato pickens for several more weeks.
The basil bed in the foreground here is growing like crazy. For cooking purposes, I can barely make a dent. Mostly what I've been doing is picking the tops off when they look like they want to bloom. I'm going to let them grow until the last possible moment and then I'm going to put up lots of pesto for the freezer.
And the surprise turnips are pretty and tasty. If you look closely I'll bet you can see all their pretty purple tops sticking up out of the ground. I'll probably try to root cellar them for the winter, along with the carrots and potatoes.
And while most of the garden is drying off, there are a few fall beds that we are still looking forward to. here are more turnips, carrots, and green beans. The green beans are starting to bloom and we're still getting beans off the old beds. I hope to do another large canning of green beans from this bed.
So that's a typical morning around here. Then it's in the house to have breakfast and plans the rest of our day, which is usually filled with canning, making parts or, soon, butchering chickens. There's never a dull moment. And still on the list before snow flies is dragging in deadfall and cutting it up for this winter's firewood and building a small structure to house the cows and poultry over the winter. Come on over and we'll put you to work!

1 comment:

Rae said...

Will you even be able to eat all the food you put up before you have to do it again next summer? Are you going to open a roadside stand? ;-)